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6 ― December 5, 2012 ― The East County Journal

Decking the halls Mineral teen part of People to People

Morton Public Works employees James Jacobs and Keith Cournyer hang holiday decorations from light posts in downtown Morton on Monday. The two city employees have been busy during the last week putting up the city’s annual holiday decorations. The town of Morton is sprucing up for this weekend’s annual Christmas in the Mountains celebration on Saturday.

The Festival of Trees is underway at the Roxy Theater and BCJ Art Gallery in downtown Morton. Fifteen live Christmas trees and several wreaths have been decorated by local businesses and groups. Silent bidding on the trees begins today and continues through 7 p.m. on Saturday. Local residents are invited to take a free tour of the trees during gallery hours and vote on the People’s Choice award. Top bidders will take home their decorated tree. Pictured above: Kerry Doege and Pamela Kelly from Morton Country Market put the finishing touches on their tree. Right: Cheryl Metcalf from Northwest Home Center adds bows to a bronze and gold tree.

Photos by Rosemary Dellinger

The East County Journal

By Rosemary Dellinger The East County Journal Andrea Ettenhofer is preparing for a dream come true. The Mineral teen – a freshman at Morton High School – has been accepted as a member of the 2013 People to People Citizen Ambassador program. In July, Ettenhofer will travel with 40 other students from across the U.S. to Australia and spend 20 days traveling, sight-seeing and participating in a wide range of activities and adventures while serving as youth ambassadors abroad. According to Ettenhofer, she was sent a letter from the People to People program three months ago inviting her to apply for an ambassador spot. After filling out an application, she received a second letter a month ago telling her she was accepted as a member of the delegation bound for Australia. The group of teens and their leaders will travel to several major Australian cities and locals including Sydney, Bellingen, Queensland Island and the Gold Coast, Moreton Island, Brisbane, Katherine, Yeppoon, Airlie Beach, Charter Towers and Cairns. Among the scheduled list of activities in Sydney - Australia’s largest city - are playing cricket with the pros at the Sydney Cricket Ground, touring the world-famous Sydney Opera House, traveling on a boat cruise along Sydney Harbor, having a hands-on look at opal gem stones during a tour of an opal establishment and rappelling down a rock face in the Blue Mountains. Ettenhofer will take part in a home-stay with a family in Bellingen and a farm-stay experience in Charters Towers. The trip will also include opportunities at beaches, banana plantations, tropical rainforests, massive wilderness areas, snorkeling and exploring caves, coral reefs, sugar cane plantations and going eye to eye with crocodiles, kangaroos, koalas, bottlenose dolphins and wombats. The experience will also include spending a day with Aboriginal people learning their history, taking part in traditional dancing and spear throwing and other customers of the Aborigine people. The 14-year-old said she thinks the experience will not only broaden her own life experiences, she thinks it will help her grow as an individual. “Part of the purpose is to help us become better leaders,” she said. “I also think it will help me build confidence and strengthen my personal goals.” Although just a freshman,

Ettenhofer has already set goals beyond high school: to attend college and obtain a degree in business or finance and come back to Morton to open a business – possibly an accounting firm, a bakery or a culinary establishment. At Morton High, Ettenhofer is a member of the MWP volleyball team. She also enjoys the outdoors especially hunting deer, elk and bear. “I have already shot three deer and a bear,” she said, adding the bear was while hunting in Mineral. She also enjoys swimming at the lake, hiking, biking and fishing. “The best thing about Mineral is that big lake in the summer.” Ettenhofer is active in the small Mineral community, working with the American Legion on their Halloween, Christmas and summer activities. As an ambassador Ettenhofer said she is most looking forward to completely community service work – planting trees and learning about the cultures and also meeting the Aboriginal Chief and learning more about their customs. Ettenhofer said traveling is a somewhat new experience – she has never flown before but is excited to start traveling. She already hopes to travel next to Ireland, which is her family’s heritage. Her parents are Pat and Shannon Ettenhofer. She has an older sister who is 20 and lives in Morton. The People to People Ambassador program is headquartered in Spokane. The project was started in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower as a way for citizens from all countries to meet and get to know each

Photo by Chris Johnson/The East County Journal Andrea Ettenhofer of Mineral has been selected to take part in a People to People Ambassador program to Australia in July of 2013. She and her mother have been sewing and making craft projects as one of several projects to raise the $8,000 in trip fees and expenses. other and gain a greater un- sell at the Mineral craft show derstanding of other cultures on Saturday. She is also in and people. Since the first the process of contacting lotraveling delegation in the cal businesses and service 1960s, more than 20,000 groups about sponsorships, ambassadors travel abroad will be putting together a each year to increase global raffle during the winter and awareness. is planning a few spring car After learning of her ac- wash events. ceptance in the program, “I am not going to let Ettenhofer has been busy fill- anything stop me,” she said ing out additional paperwork, about the $8,000 cost. “I am obtaining her passport and a small town girl but I want visas and working on raising to do something bigger. I the $8,000 cost to participate. want to make a difference.” She and her mother have For additional informacreated scarves and hand- tion on Ettenhofer’s People made snowflake ornaments to People program, contact which they are planning to her family at (360) 492-3123.

By Buddy Rose The East County Journal Christmas tree permits for the Gifford Pinchot National Forest (GPNF) went on sale Nov. 16. The permits sell for $5 and allow the cutting of one tree less than 12 feet tall almost anywhere on the forest outside of wilderness areas and the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. The problem for those purchasing the permits is finding a suitable tree. Under the best conditions for forest access it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a tree less than 12 feet in height in the forest near Randle or Packwood. There has been almost no timber harvest producing an opening (plantation) replanted with seedlings in more than a decade. Most trees planted prior to that time have grown too tall and topping trees taller than 12 feet in height is not allowed. Noble firs – the most popular Christmas tree in our area – were previously planted above 4,000 feet in elevation. There are still some older, high-elevation plantations containing a few nobles that are less than 12 feet tall and suitable for a Christmas tree. However, recent snows on forest roads beginning around 3,000 feet have restricted access to those plantations.

Conditions reported on the GPNF Internet website last week stated most forest roads had 12 and 15 inches of snow at 4,000 feet in elevation. Beginning at roughly 3,000 feet there were frozen or slushy ruts, depending on the air temperature at the time of your visit. More snow, especially above 4,000 feet in elevation, is forecast for this week. Even with a high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicle, there are likely be problems driving very far above 3,000 feet, which means you might have to walk a mile or more in deep snow to get to a suitable Noble fir tree. Douglas firs are plentiful below the snowline on the forest, but finding a suitable tree less than 12 feet in height is not easy. There are small Douglas firs along some roadsides but they tend to be misshapen or have sparse or uneven foliage. Small Douglas firs growing beneath a canopy of larger trees usually have few branches and very little foliage. Permits are available at the Cowlitz Valley Ranger station Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Permits are also available at Blanton’s Market in Packwood and at Fischer’s Market and Randle One Stop in Randle. They can also be purchased in Ashford at Ash-

In search of the perfect Christmas trees

ford Valley Grocery, Suvers General Store and Whittaker Mountaineering. If you do get a permit, make sure you follow the rules for cutting a Christmas tree on the forest. Most importantly, make sure the tree you cut is on National Forest land and not private or State land within or near the forest. Don’t cut trees in the Mount St. Helens Monument or designated Wilderness, within 300 feet of a stream or in campgrounds or other posted areas. If you are unsure about areas available for Christmas tree harvest, contact the Cowlitz Valley Ranger Station in Randle. Cut the tree less than 12 inches off the ground and remove any live branches remaining on the stump. Punch out the date and attach your permit to the tree. If you drive into the forest in search of a tree make sure you are prepared for winter conditions. Take along tire chains and a shovel and other safety equipment, including extra clothing, flashlights, blankets and extra food and water in case you get stranded. Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. Once you leave the valleys near Randle or Packwood and enter the forest, cell phone reception is almost never available.

The Lewis County Historical Museum

We invite you to join the Lewis County Historical Museum. Benefits include free museum admission, 10 percent off all gift shop purchases, a printed newsletter three times a year, and email updates about upcoming events. Join Today!

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